The school committee’s message sent last night did not tell the whole story. The BEU did not “walk out” on mediation last night, and is taking the last school committee proposal under advisement. Furthermore, the BEU has in fact made counter offers on the economic proposals, but the School Committee has refused to address our proposals on working conditions and racial justice. We have made proposals regarding prep and planning time and proposals aimed at attracting and retaining educators of color.
These proposals are based on the professional judgment of educators that will benefit our students.
Yet to the school committee, these proposals are not even worth talking about.
The committee also is trying to sell the old trope that educators receive annual “step raises.” Steps are not raises; steps represent the base pay for educators stretched out across several years. Compared to other professions, educators agree to wait several years before achieving maximum potential earnings. They do this to help the municipalities that they work for. Raises are the actual increases in pay to address the rising cost of living.
As it stands now, the movement we saw last night is not concrete and the School Committee can withdraw its offers. The BEU is asking the School Committee to sign a written agreement by 5 p.m. Thursday.
The School Committee has time to make serious, concrete offers that address our concerns. The BEU bargaining team is ready to negotiate. We are ready to settle if the committee speaks to the two non-monetary issues that are crucial to the quality of education that we provide our students. We are also ready to take further action if the School Committee continues to ignore its obligation to bargain over our working conditions which are our students’ learning conditions.
Thank you for your solidarity and for the support that you give to our students every day.